SCARLETS outside-half Rhys Priestland says it was bitterly disappointing to lose against Munster at Musgrave Park in the PRO12 last season and taking a victory over the Irish province at Thomond Park on Friday evening will be a step in the right direction for the Welsh region.
The clash away from home against Munster heralds a big month for the Scarlets that will see the West Wales region take on Munster and Toulon in consecutive weeks, who collectively have five Heineken Cup titles between them, before moving on to face Leicester Tigers at Parc y Scarlets in the second round of the European Champions Cup.
Talking earlier this week outside half Priestland, who has played a part in all of Scarlets' fixtures so far this season, said: "The next few weeks will be a big test for us and hopefully we can keep the squad as fit as possible and see how we go. If we play like we have done we're going to come unstuck.
"We've played some good stuff but we've been inconsistent and left a few opportunities on the field. Hopefully we can turn things around but it's going to be a tough few weeks. We want to become more consistent and hopefully we can sort that out this week.”
In what is the final Guinness PRO12 fixture of the opening block this season, as we head into the European campaign, Priestland is fully aware of the challenge that faces the Scarlets as they take on Munster at their Thomond Park home. Priestland went on to say: "They've been the top team consistently for so many years. They're probably a team that's been improving, they've got some very good players and will be ramping it up gearing towards Europe.
"I'm pretty sure we'll face a Munster team that played against Leinster last weekend not the team that played at the start of the season. We were bitterly disappointed to have lost out in Munster – hopefully it'll be a bit different this time!
"Our performances against them have improved. We know they're a dangerous team, they're playing a bit more of an expansive game and we've worked on our defence this week.”
With two win, two draws and a defeat in the Guinness PRO12 so far this season the Scarlets are keen to build on the winning momentum and keep climbing the table. Priestland went on to say: "We've been like a traditional French team so far this season, ok at home, very disappointing out in Leinster and we should have put the game to bed early doors in Edinburgh.
"We have to try and stop that trend of having one good performance and then a slump. The season we got to the top four – we went to places and ground out ugly wins – they weren't glamorous games but we got the job done.
"It's a massive period for us at Scarlets – if we can get something out of this game away to Munster it'll be a big step in the right direction for us, especially the way we've been away from home at the start of the year. That will hopefully lead nicely into what is one of the biggest games in European rugby going out to Toulon.”
Tickets are on sale now for Scarlets' opening home European Champions Cup game against Leicester Tigers, Saturday 25th October kick-off 7.45pm.